Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sesa Goa's violent clashes with Advalpal villagers

Advalpal villagers tirade against mining companies continues today on a third day today. People are attacking mines due to threat to their village, Water sources, Forests and Agriculture.

According to the reports reaching here at 6.10 pm confrontation is on between Sesa Goa mining company an the Adval villagers. Around 150 villagers have squatted on the road blocking mining trucks carrying ore from Sesa Goa mines. Tension was mounting on on the mine side with no side in a position to relent. Vedanta - that owns Sesa Goa - is known for thorough environmental destruction as well as application of brutal repressive measures in number of Indian States.

Sesa Goa mine owned by British corporate Vedanta was involved in beating up of three Advalpal villagers two of them being women. Sheetal Thanekar, Surekha Santosh Gaonkar and 17 year old Sandesh Vithal Gaonkar was beaten by Sesa Goa goons at around 3.00 pm today on the mines site in the presence of Goa Police personnel attached to Bicholim police station. Bicholim police station has registered the case against unknown persons at the demand of Advalpal villagers after initial reluctance.

Today morning Advalpal villagers marched into Sesa Goa mines and forced it to close down. Then the group marched on the Fometos mine. However today too police were deployed to provide security cover thereby preventing people from entering mine. While people were at the Fomentos mine Sesa Goa mine too were provided with police protection and re-started again.

One group today morning squatted before the deputy collectors office shouting slogans against mining company and deputy Collector accusing officer Arvind Bugde being agent of the mining companies. police too rushed here and put in place barricade preventing people from entering the deputy collector's office.

The third mine operated by Salgaoncar mining company remains close for the past three days. Goa's Mining Minister who is also Chief Minister - Digambar Kamat - will have to take some important and hard decisions to resolve this stand off. Neither application Goons nor Police violence is going to solve this problem. He has to straighten his backbone and sent home mining companies to defend homes and lives of Advalpal people. Earlier he does it better for him and his government stability.

Sebastian Rodrigues with inputs from Ramesh Gauns in Bicholim and Shamsunder Naik in Advalpal.

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